Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The National League used a designated hitter in 2020, as a temporary measure during a season heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That change expired last fall, with the NL set to go back to normal in 2021 with no DH, and that’s still the plan for now.
Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB offered a deal to the players last week that featured multiple considerations for each side, highlighted by the key trade-off of keeping both the universal DH (which players like) and an expanded version of the postseason in 2021 (which owners like). The players rejected the offer, meaning business as usual until further notice — pitchers batting in the NL, and the customary 10 teams in the postseason.
That doesn’t mean either of these ideas are gone forever. The two sides could still negotiate something in time for this season if there’s a mutual desire. Or if not this year, then the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires next winter, providing an opportunity for new rules to be put on the table for 2022 and beyond. At the very least, the universal DH seems like an inevitability at some point, and sooner than later.
But for the moment, with three weeks to go before spring training, there (probably) won’t be a DH in the NL this season. And also spring training might end up being more than three weeks away, since the Cactus League requested that it be delayed due to the virus. But one way or other, at some point, in some form, there should be Major League Baseball in 2020, almost certainly, most likely.
Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors has a good, concise analysis of the proposed DH/postseason trade-off, and why it wouldn’t have made sense for the players to accept it at this time in this form.
Also of note: Rosenthal mentions that one thing the league wanted in their latest offer was to experiment with automated strike zones this spring in exhibition games. The players opposed the idea.
- Lockard: How the A’s non-roster invitees fit into their 2021 depth chart ($$$)
- Lockard: Rico Brogna set to skipper the Stockton Ports through uncharted waters in 2021 ($$$)
- AN: Cactus League urges MLB to delay spring training in Arizona
MLB News & Interest
- Slusser: Cactus League, Arizona cities request spring training delay ($)
- Allen (via Sankei Sports): Rakuten Eagles to make formal offer to Masahiro Tanaka
- Mackey: Why the Pirates were comfortable trading Jameson Taillon now
- Today in Baseball History
I thought Cleveland made a mistake declining Hand’s 2021 option the moment it happened, and now he signed for more than that elsewhere. Surely the Indians could have found a trade market and gotten something out of all this, instead of letting a three-time All-Star on a market-rate one-year contract walk away for nothing — and that’s even after considering the context Passan mentions, since the Nats knew about all that when they signed him.
Here’s the reality about Brad Hand: His fastball wasn’t what it once was, and that had a demonstrable effect on his market. But, as one evaluator just said, his slider remains an excellent pitch. And he was smart to go one year at a good number. @JonHeyman was on top of things.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 25, 2021
Taillon missed 2020 due to his second Tommy John surgery, as the Yankees construct an all-time boom/bust rotation (along with fellow injury bounce-back candidates Kluber and Severino, among others). Click Passan’s tweet for some further analysis, as the rebuilding Pirates trade away another starting pitcher (after Joe Musgrove to the Padres).
The New York Yankees have acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Maikel Escotto and— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 24, 2021
Canaan Smith, sources tell ESPN.
This Ottavino trade is a luxury-tax motivated salary dump by the Yankees — they also tossed in a prospect and nearly a million bucks, in exchange for cash or a PTBNL. Solid gamble by the Red Sox, essentially signing Ottavino for 1yr/$8m to see if he can bounce back to his previous excellence after some small-sample struggles in 2020.
Source: The Yankees have traded Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) January 25, 2021
Hernandez returns to Cleveland, with a club option for 2022
Cesar Hernandez agrees to Indians deal pending medicals— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 26, 2021
Former starter Holland will compete for a spot in Detroit’s bullpen
Left-hander Derek Holland (12-year MLB veteran) and first baseman Drew Ward announce they have joined the Detroit Tigers.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) January 24, 2021
Source says both players are on minor-league contracts.
Best of Twitter
Updated list of A’s non-roster invitees for this spring, with five prospects added Monday morning: Allen, Dunshee, Howard, Reed, and Soderstrom
We have added five additional non-roster invitees to Spring Training, bringing our total to 18. pic.twitter.com/SOSUN9rxFt— Oakland A's (@Athletics) January 25, 2021
Snippet from the Brogna article (linked above in A’s Coverage section)
Brogna on why he got interested in computers and analytics: pic.twitter.com/JZnOCZRcLI— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) January 26, 2021
This is still more often than the A’s and Giants trade with each other
Only the second trade Brian Cashman has ever made with Boston. He once joked that he's typically engaged with every team other than the Red Sox. https://t.co/N3NMPztm3i— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 25, 2021
I’m just saying, the A’s can still use a few more relievers
Not just the hitters; can you imagine today’s TWITTER reaction?
Lmao can you imagine today’s hitters’ reactions? https://t.co/eLt6Ine444— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) January 26, 2021
I didn’t look at the other submissions but I’ll assume this was the best